Agreement benefits Chiefs and University

14 July 2014


Deputy Vice-chancellor: Professor Alister Jones with Chiefs players Liam Messam, Aaron Cruden and Rhys Marshall.

An agreement between two of the region’s most successful organisations will bring the worlds of sports and academia closer together.

Formalising the relationship with the Chiefs

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Chiefs Rugby Club and the University of Waikato on Thursday.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says he was delighted to formalise what was an already strong relationship with the Chiefs. The University of Waikato is committed to extending its research contributions to include high performance sport and formalising the relationship with the Chiefs also serves to strengthen the University's engagement and partnerships regionally and nationally.

 The MoU will see the two organisations working together in a range of areas of interest, with key priorities identified as education and research programmes, student projects and internships.

Benefits of the new relationship

For the Chiefs, the main benefits are likely to be in the form of in-depth research into areas such as on field performance and fan behaviour, while University researchers will benefit from being able to study different areas of a professional sporting organisation.

Chief Executive of the Chiefs, Andrew Flexman said the MoU is an exciting development for the back-to-back Super rugby champions.

“There are a number of areas where we are looking at more in-depth research projects and I’m looking forward to the first initiatives getting underway,” he says.

“The big challenge for us, as it is for all live sports, is attendance so some more research into fan behaviour would be good. How we go about attracting the next generation of fans is an obvious area to look at.”

There were also likely to be opportunities for players to undertake study to prepare for a life after rugby, he says.

“We’re aligning our approach for players, particularly younger players, and giving them the opportunity to study. The main problem is time,” Flexman says.

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